The 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin, in response to motions from 41 sect mothers, ruled that Child Protective Services did not present enough evidence at an April hearing to show that the children were in immediate danger of abuse, which would have justified keeping them in state custody.ABC News
Texas Third Court of Appeal ruled the grounds for removing the FLDS children from their parents were "legally and factually insufficient" under Texas law. The FLDS might have unconventional beliefs many do not agree with, however those individual families are entitled to “Due Process.” That is just not some platitude that we roll out when “our side” is threatened. It is fundamental to our legal system and traces back to our English law heritage.
That concept was first expressed in Chapter 39 of the Magna Carta, King John of England promised as follows: "No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land."
The over reaching actions of the Texas CPS(Child Protective Services) remind us of the actions of the former Durham DA Nifong, DPD, and the campus-community uproar that occurred in March 2006. In that situation we were bombarded daily by the press with stories of an out of control Lax Team. We saw as the DPD tried to prove that something happened; whereas the reality is they had no evidence anything had happen but the wild accusations of an accuser which the responding offcier thought false. Indeed they were FALSE and Nifong and the PD had overwhelming exculpatory evidence which they hide from the public and defendants.
In the FLDS case it has become clear the initial accusations were made by one person anonymously, who was out of state pretending to be underage and assaulted. She was again a false accuser. Over the last month we have seen CNN, Nancy Grace, and other pundits parade out stories that inflamed rather than coldly look at the evidence. It is an all too familiar repeat of events.
While none of us want to stand by and do nothing while children are abused we cannot forego “Due Process!”
The 5th Amendment along with the 14th gives citizens the right of Due Process.
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. 14th Amendment
Whether or not there was actually abuse was an issue that CPS should have faced before removing children from their parents. None of us can stand abuse of the little ones. The Texas CPS might have acted out of good intentions but history is filled with good intentions gone bad.
Has the well been tainted beyond repair?
Will the Texas CPS now go out to prove something happened because they were slap-downed by the Appeals Court?
We hope this is not just another, “It’s not about the Truth!”
We applaud the quick action of the Texas Third Court of Appeal.
If only Durham Superior Court Judge Stephens had thought of "Due Process" when he signed a 46 Man DNA sweep.